China's Growing Spy Threat (Page 4 of 5)

One prominent analyst on the issue of Falun Gong persecution, David Kilgour, is a former Canadian member of parliament and served as Canada’s secretary of state for Asia-Pacific in 2002 and 2003. He recently co-authored a book entitled ‘Bloody Harvest—The killing of Falun Gong for their organs,’ which closely examines the brutality and takes a look at the regime’s illegal persecution of exiled practitioners. 

‘The espionage and intimidation the party-state deploys against Falun Gong abroad is outrageous,’ Kilgour says, calling it an extension of the ‘very severe persecution’ in China. ‘It’s unconscionable for a repressive government to use the freedom of a democracy to project abroad its persecution of its chosen victims.’

Among the examples he cites is a 2003 case in which two Chinese diplomatic officials in Edmonton were caught handing out pamphlets inciting hatred against the Falun Gong—a crime in Canada. But there’s much more, he says.

Chinese defectors have told Kilgour that the effort spent monitoring and repressing dissidents overseas actually outweighs all other functions of Chinese diplomatic missions combined, he says. Apparently the regime doesn’t want the international community to realize what has been perpetrated in China. 

One victim of that persecution, author and human rights activist Jennifer Zeng, fled China in 2001 after being tortured at one of the regime’s ‘Re-Education-Through-Labour’ camps. ‘The PRC espionage and intimidation against FG practitioners overseas is so common that many of us have become accustomed to it,’ she says.

But while Falun Gong practitioners may be at the top of the regime’s list of perceived enemies, they are far from the only victims of anti-dissident Chinese operations abroad. Another extensively targeted group is the exiled Uighur community, an ethnic minority—primarily Muslim—that has been systematically oppressed within China for decades. China has also been very active in tracking and disrupting the activities of those who managed to flee.

Last year, for example, a man was convicted of ‘aggravated illegal espionage’ against the Uighur refugee community in Sweden. ‘He reported all he could about them,’ says Sweden’s chief national security prosecutor Tomas Lindstram, who prosecuted the case. The information included everything from the targets’ political views and activities to details about their health and travel habits.

Using a ‘rather tricky’ method to communicate with his handlers—a Chinese ‘journalist’ and a diplomatic official—the convicted spy ‘fooled most of his fellow countrymen,’ says Lindstram. The court and the prosecutor recognized the seriousness of the crime—especially because it was to benefit a ‘totalitarian’ government that does not respect human rights. Incredibly, however, the spy was sentenced to less than two years.

Lindstram admits he thought the short sentence was ‘odd’ and didn’t correctly account for the severity of the crime. The government is now apparently looking into the sentencing length question. But for many Uighur activists, the penalty was almost an outrage.

‘There should be a tougher punishment for a crime like this in order to send a strong signal to other possible spies around the world,’ says Mehmet Tohti, the Special Representative of the World Uighur Congress to the European Union. And it isn’t just Sweden that could use improvement.

Tohti says the West in general isn’t doing enough to protect and support exiled Chinese dissidents—even though it is in the free world’s own interest to do so. In Germany, for example, there have also been several incidents of Chinese espionage against Uighurs in recent years. Little has been done.

‘Chinese spying is a big problem for the Uighur community—especially for Uighur organizational leaders,’ says Tohti. But they are hardly alone.

Other victims of Chinese intimidation, wiretapping, and e-mail theft—Tibetan activists and pro-democracy advocates, for example—are fiercely persecuted by the regime outside of China, too. According to Tohti, one of the goals is to minimize the impact of anti-China protests because they are ‘exposing China’s gross and systematic violation of human rights’ to the world.

Beyond Intelligence: Offensive Capabilities

Chinese intelligence agencies are clearly involved in collecting information on a massive scale. Some analysts even refer to the regime’s strategy as the ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ approach. But intelligence gathering is only one piece of the puzzle.

Perhaps even more alarming than monitoring dissidents and stealing trade secrets, analysts say, is mounting evidence of the regime’s increasing ability and willingness to employ its spy services offensively. The number of examples is growing rapidly.

In the cyber realm, China’s use of offensive tactics was highlighted again just last month. As The Diplomat reported on August 25, a video on cyber warfare broadcast over China’s military state TV channel included a brief segment that raised eyebrows worldwide.

The footage apparently showed an old computer programme from the People’s Liberation Army Electronic Engineering Institute being used to ‘attack’ a US-based website tied to the Falun Gong via a US university’s network. And, while the short clip featured outdated and unsophisticated methodology, analysts say it was important for several reasons—providing more evidence of China’s offensive cyber activities being chief among them.

A 2009 report prepared for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission on China’s cyber capabilities also suggests that the regime’s information-warfare strategy features offensive operations prominently. According to the authors’ analysis of the regime’s strategy, the tools ‘will be widely employed in the earliest phases of a conflict, and possibly pre-emptively.’ 

The study also notes that faculty members at China’s National University of Defense Technology ‘are actively engaged in research on offensive network operations techniques or exploits.’ Research and development on ‘a variety of offensive information warfare technologies’ is also being conducted by institutes overseen by the PLA’s General Staff Department Fourth Department.

God is my Judge
August 29, 2013 at 13:33

You 2 are hysterical. You don't fool anyone. Your ill-referenced quip that you are chinese and should be owed money because you could be an asset is a nice coy maneuver. Straight from the 36 strategems. 

You and John Chan, haha. What do they pay you on top of the peanuts ?

Daniel God is my Judge
August 29, 2013 at 13:04

Yes, but if there was a certain segment of the population not in America, could you imagine how safe it would be? A majority of all violent crime and same race on same race is committed by them.

I lived in China as well and felt generally safer from violent crime. But, if you were a female chinese who wanted to have more than 1 child, I would all of a sudden not feel so safe… or what if you wanted to start a pro liberty group ? 

For instance this John Chan chap. You think he is really expressing his view? To tell you the truth I am sure the Chinese have software that allows them to recognize an anti-China article and they send at least 1 person to do PR damage control. 

Just read any article on dailymail that comes out about China and there will be at least 10 pro-CCP writers acting coy as if they aren't agents working for their beloved motherland.

[...] [...]

[...] to enforce its “one-child policy.” Savage persecution of Christians and political opposition, harvesting of body organs from dissidents, concentration camps for critics, mass slaughter, failed central planning, and more, have become the norm. Indeed, the Chinese [...]

[...] U.S. counterintelligence officials said last year that the communist Chinese regime was the world’s biggest perpetrator of economic espionage, with a potential to jeopardize hundreds of billions of GDP dollars every year. One of Beijing’s primary methods, of course, is the use of Chinese “companies” to gobble up intelligence and intellectual property. [...]

American Trash Calling Pot Black
September 3, 2012 at 11:48

"‘When you consider that China’s intelligence community views any foreign-deployed Chinese citizen, any Chinese delegation, all Chinese criminal networks, and all overseas Chinese with any tangible affinity or connection to the Motherland as a target for recruitment, then you have to find a different way to measure,’ Fisher explains. This has to start with the consideration that any Chinese, especially those from China, from student to CEO, are potential active intelligence assets.’.  "
It is obvious Mr Fisher is speaking for him self and Americans aboard.  We know Americans are being tapped every day to do their "patriotic" duty.
So, please speak for yourself Mr Fisher. So kindly do not attribute to us what you are but we are not. We are not the sinister orientals but you sir, are definitely, the sinister "gweilos".
Mr Li
Minister of Home Affairs

Dr. Rice
November 22, 2011 at 13:44

I remember reading in the art of war something along the lines of “a small, but poorly funded army is still more expensive than a large, lavishly paid spy network.” This is all I am seeing when I read this.

I am sure the key to understanding the Chinese can be found when you look at their history and philosophies.

October 2, 2011 at 17:51

Yang Jisheng, formerly of Xinhua researched and published Tombstone, in Hong Kong, of course, not in PRC. Based on years of reading and assessing local government documents he estimates some 40 million extra deaths due to the Great Leap Forward. Other recent research supports this figure.
This, ata time when Mao knew about the famine but was selling grain to the Soviet Union in exchange for nuclear weapons know how. John Chan, your ignorance and blindness to facts make very good companions to your inhumanity and heartlessness.

September 25, 2011 at 22:25

What does kremlinology and china watcher mean??? Study hard.

Kung Pao
September 25, 2011 at 05:57

@Ozivan: Technically, they’re the same, but morally killing your own is worse (you know why). The irony is CCP wanted people to call him great hero; only in communist countries !

Mao and HCM were extremely violent guys. Ghandi should have offered crash course “Introduction to non-violent methods” to them.

Charlie T.
September 24, 2011 at 22:58

What I have noticed about all of the attacks on Mr. Newman and the article is that not a single one of them disputes a single fact or claim made by one of the documents or people who are talked about in the article. Saying that the United States or white people or Europeans or whoever has done bad things in the past and in the future does not change anything and this article was obviously about China not what the United States has done.

You might be interested to know that I have followed Mr. Newman’s work closely for years and you might be surprised to know that he has done very much reporting on the activities of the United States regime and its spying and war making.

September 24, 2011 at 14:17

America’s Already Grown Spy Threat. White Americans killed their own people, their fellow nationals, the Native Americans and African Americans; the American government peddled people to libya for torture in return for their answers; the american government has more than 750 military bases overseas and has invaded, since 1980, Grenada; Panama; Iraq twice; Afghanistan; Libya and others. China does execute the occasional corrupt banker/mayor/politician. The U.S. rewards them with cabinet positions instead. The Chinese national representative body is probably more representative, when measured by incomes, than the U.S. Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court has made U.S. elections a joke. they are now auctions, not elections. And CCTV is less propagandistic than Fox. Alex Newman is a dope; or a shill; or a lobbyist. but a journalist, he ain’t.

September 24, 2011 at 02:03

@John Chan: I don’t believe the 100,000,000 figure nor do I believe any figure you or CCP provide. I go by the link I provided ozivan.

No need to insult others.

John Chan
September 23, 2011 at 22:35

In China, wealth transfer from the have areas to have-not areas as matter of fact and duty, no one make a big fuss about it. When the natural disasters come, the have areas all pitch in to rebuild the disaster areas free of charge. It sounds like socialism to me.

Yet there are disasters in Europe, none of the EU members want to pitch in without charging arm and leg interest for the half hearted funds they provided. It seems Europeans are heartless and no compassion for their own kind, they only care nickels and dines. Yet they claimed they are civilized, democratic and caring human rights.

Comparing the above two contrast facts, I just wonder what’s good of democracy and western civilization; they put money in front of humanity.

September 23, 2011 at 19:47

I look forward to the results of your research, and of course your judgment on Mao from this. Please keep in mind three things:
1)Take into account the duration factor. The Great Leap drama lasted only 2-3 years. So, apart from the absolute number, there is the intensity.
2)Take into account the intention or not to cover-up, minimize, distort facts and incriminate others. The use/abuse of power and governmental tools to do so. We are not discussing the responsibility of a low-level executive but that of a leader, a head of state.
3)Don’t mix things up like John Chan. Leave aside the “crimes” of Lady Marcos and the poems of Dr José Rizal will you?

September 23, 2011 at 17:05

We aren’t talking about the West here we are talking about China but even though I disagree with the death penalty at least we have trial by jury and the death penalty is only applied in murder cases in some states and so on.
I do not think you can compare the execution of a murderer convicted by a jury of his peers in a court of law to deliberately starving people because they are too old or sick to work or harvesting organs from people because they believe in a religion the state does not like.
I didn’t make up any facts I quoted from a historian who examined CCP records and came to those conclusions and saying that people in the West or Japan have committed heinous crimes centuries ago in no way justifies what the CCP is doing or has done. I feel like you are trying to distract from the reality in any way you can but it is not working very well in my opinion.

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